Health Issues: What do voters really, really care about? Health care—
“everywhere and nowhere, a strange kind of omnipresent sleeper issue,” writes Annie Lowrey. Democrats are in a position to run on health care rather than gloss over relevant policy. “To black women in Georgia, the stakes of the debate over health-care access are no less than life or death,” writes Vann R. Newkirk II, reporting from Savannah.
Veronique Greenwood’s grandfather was an eminent nuclear physicist, whose career was derailed by what seemed to be a crackpot theory. After his death, she came into possession of his papers, and began to peel back this enduring family mystery:
One rainy day this past March, deep in the thicket of papers and lost myself, I called my father. Trained as a scientist, he had always been fascinated by Francis’s obsession, which Francis had continued to talk about his whole life. Francis was not fired in the end. But my grandparents did eventually retire early. They moved onto their boat and spent many years sailing across the world. But on their ultimate return to the United States, Francis submitted his papers several more times and engaged in ever-more-tangled correspondence, which I now had spread across the floor of my home.
My father described a picture he’d seen long ago. “It was a painting of this immensely complicated structure made up of linear pieces. It climbs, and it climbs, and it climbs, and above it is this perfect sphere floating in space. And when I saw that … I looked at that painting and I thought, I know exactly what that is: You can’t get there from here!” he said. There is a gap between what you can prove with the tools available to you and what you believe to be true. Mathematicians spend decades constructing proofs for intuitions they had years earlier. Artists struggle to capture an inspiration on canvas. Scientists follow hunches, writers follow stories, all of us stumble forward on a tightrope of our own making without any guarantee that it will bear us. The painting is by Paul Klee; it is called Limits of Understanding.